Why Social Media for Small Business Matters
Individual social networking platforms may come and go but social media as a whole is here to stay. Social media provides a captive audience of customers for your small business. Worldwide, 62% of adults use social media. That figure does not include the millions of teens who influence their parents spending and also have their own purchasing power.
All social media networks allow your brand to cultivate online relationships with your consumers. Through these online relationships you can build customer loyalty that transcends simple product transactions. Facebook and Twitter also provide real time assessments of consumer reactions. This lets you know what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, monitoring social channels helps you adapt to consumer needs & industry trends. Strategies build around that information puts your business in front of the competition.
3 Top Social Media Networks for Small Business
There are three key social channels for small business – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Each platform offers a unique opportunity to target different markets in different ways. Facebook allows for you to post exclusive content and daily deals to fans who ‘like’ your page. You can post shareable and memorable content via Twitter, so that you can be a part of your customers’ daily conversations. Pinterest engages consumers on a visual and viral level.
Below, we outline actionable strategies to help you leverage social media for small business.
Facebook Timeline Brand Pages has two important features that are often overlooked by small businesses. These are the ‘highlight’ and ‘pinned post’ options. These options allow you to showcase specific messages or images for your customers. It ensures that they do not miss an important deal or product launch. Also, make sure to use the Facebook Event application for upcoming promotions and product launches, as well as actual parties.
Everyone loves photos, so encourage your customers to post photos of themselves using your products or services on your Facebook timeline. This gets them excited about your products and your brand. Don’t forget to add images of your own. Get your staff involved and post some behind the scenes shots of your team at work. Finally, remember to use your header image as a vibrant call to action. It should encourage people to like your page and be a fan of your small business.
Remember not to make direct sales on Twitter. Instead tweet conversational insights built around the lifestyles of your consumers & the services you offer. Ask your followers what they think about industry trends to engage them and show them you are interested in them. Tweet about strategic deals and free resources that you offer on your website or in your retail space.
It’s often difficult for small business owners to manage the many conversations that occur on social media. Use Twitter lists and search functions to aid in monitoring. You can create your own lists or subscribe to another users lists. Another way to stay involved in conversations on Twitter is to take part in industry ‘tweetchats.’ This will increase your brand’s visibility and authority.
Visual images are one of the easiest ways to capture someone’s attention. Pinterest let’s you display your products, services and company culture in a vibrant way. Visual images have a tendency to go viral because sharing a great image is almost instinctual. Remember that Pinterest is all about imagery that reflects specific lifestyles. Don’t just post images of your products. Pin photos about the interests of your customers or unique ways in which your products can be used. You can even create a board for customers to share their own innovative uses of your products/services.
Because images aren’t as personal as text, you can create a board for each of your employees where they can express their interests and sense of fun. Likewise, you can have a board about your small business’ culture and values. It’s also acceptable to follow and share pins from your competitors. They’ll respond in kind and you’ll build authority and gain customers through shared followers.
Be Strategic and Consistent
As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a lot of time to maintain every social network. We suggest focusing on these three. If even that is too much, just pick one that you feel best suits you and your business. It is better to have one social network that is managed well than to have many that are managed poorly and sporadically. Once you get the hang of social media for small business, you can add other social networks to your online reach. The important thing is to have a solid presence on at least one social media network. The sooner you do this, the sooner you will begin to build brand loyalty and improve customer engagement.
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